IDF accidentally messages thousands of reservists on automated call-up system

Military says calls and texts, which carried an error message, occurred during ‘planned maintenance operation,’ no soldiers were actually summoned for duty

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Reservist soldiers take part in an IDF drill on March 21, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)
Reservist soldiers take part in an IDF drill on March 21, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

Tens of thousands of Israeli army reservists received confusing phone calls and messages early Thursday, in what the military said was a technical malfunction.

The automated phone calling system is usually used to quickly draft reservist troops during a war or other emergency, or to drill such situations.

The phone calls at around 2 a.m. were dialed as the Israel Defense Forces was conducting a “planned maintenance operation” on the system, the military said.

A military source said the system was not hacked.

The calls did not call up any reservists for duty, but rather issued an “error” message in English, and then immediately hung up, leaving many soldiers confused. Some reservists also received text messages with the error message.

The IDF said the issue was quickly resolved, and it apologized for any inconvenience caused.

In 2018, a similar “glitch” occurred, as the IDF accidentally sent out an automated emergency call-up of reservists, then quickly canceled the summons.

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